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Thursday, 29 November 2012

VLA funding

Today the Law Institute sent out invitations to a meeting on Monday to discuss the further tightening of eligibility criteria for Legal Aid assistance.

The LIV have been told that the following proposals are currently before the VLA Board for consideration:

    1. That the eligibility threshold for summary crime be raised so that only those cases which carry an immediate term of imprisonment as the likely outcome will be aided

    2. That the fees payable to instructing solicitors will be limited to two half days per trial

    3. That grants of aid payable in youth crime matters will be cut

Each time I hear of another round of these proposals I'm reminded of the economic concept of externality - the generation of an external cost borne by a party who was not involved as either a buyer or seller of the goods or services causing the cost or benefit. While improvement to VLA's bottom line might seem superficially attractive, I wonder what the longer-term consequences of these decisions will be to the court system generally, and to our community as a whole.

I will be at the meeting on Monday. I'll let you know how it goes.

1 comment:

Hugh de Kretser said...

If you care about adequate funding for legal assistance services - legal aid, community legal centres and Indigenous legal services, get behind our campaign: http://www.communitylawaustralia.org.au/ We're calling for a doubling of Federal legal assistance spending and think this is achievable given the Federal government spends twice as much on its own lawyers than it does on Australians who can't afford a lawyer.